Originally Posted by IntelliVolume
However, I question the merits of a multichannel amp combined with a brand new high-powered AVR because it seems silly to me to buy a shiny, brand spankin' new receiver with high power and nice features and simply ignore all of its amp channels...I think these could at least work for surrounds, no? That's why I was thinking a three channel or two channel model just to power the front stage...
I think I understand what you are trying to accomplish. But I believe you said that your Onkyo 605 does not have preouts? (Is it this model - TX-SR605S - 7.1 90 wpc?) If you try to use a line level converter - - you might be limited to 60 watts per channel (or some number like that) I am unfamiliar on how well this will work - - especially if you add different amplifier sources to the mix.
Now - - here comes the real question and the crux of this whole thread - - separates versus an integrated AVR. Most integrated, multichannel AVRs will go up to 120 wpc. I'm sure some higher end models might go higher but they are expensive. I do not see much of a difference between 90 wpc and 120 wpc. Hence the argument for separates IF you believe more power will benefit your situation.
I paid around $2,400 for the Wyred 4 Sound, Class D, MMC 7.1 channel amplifier. I went from 120 wpc with my Pioneer SC65 to 221 wpc with the multi monoblock design of the MMC 7.1. The SC65 functions solely as a "Preamp" with the amplifier turned off. I didn't plan it this way and if I had to do it all over again, I would have gone with separates to begin with.
The biggest benefit to separates for me is separation, isolation and power. Multichannel SACD's sound incredible. Movie soundtracks are a gas. To handle peak power loads - - I went with the Furman Elite 15 PFi Linear Filtering AC Power Source.
Again, this is my opinion only and not backed by any bias tests or a scientific study. It is my personal experience from listening to both setups in the same environment. Many folks in this thread will tell you that you don't need to do anything - - 90 wpc per channel is more than adequate.
Lastly - - if two channel stereo is important to you, many multichannel AVR's skimp on the analog outputs. They just do not sound very good. Hence, my purchase of the Parasound 2100 stereo preamplifier to round out my HT. I was listening to Steve Winwood last night (Arc of a Diver - Spanish Dancer and Night Train.) With the Parasound 2100 (via my OPPO 103 Bluray Player - analog outputs) - - and listening in two channel mode - - it sounded like my subwoofer was engaged! It wasn't. Great soundstage and nice, tight thump to the bass.
To me - - that's where the extra power comes in to play.
In closing - - my setup is complete. The only replacement in the future will be a "Preamp." For 4K video and possible Dolby Atmos. But that is four to five years a way.
I hope this helps.